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News Summary

Smoking ban advances without liquor tax break for bars

Publication Date: 2007-03-15
  • Author:AP

A House health spending panel approved a statewide smoking ban on Thursday after stripping out a liquor tax break for establishments that adopted the restrictions sooner.

The legislation would outlaw smoking in all bars, restaurants, private clubs and other workplaces starting on Jan. 1, 2009. The House Health Care and Human Services Finance Division passed the bill 14-7 after what looked like a warm-up for a bigger debate on the House floor.

Opponents tried to amend the bill to outlaw smoking entirely, ban trans fats and force the state to condemn and purchase bars that failed under the ban. Another failed amendment would have delayed the ban until all American Indian reservations adopted the same rules.

Two amendments succeeded: One would let long-haul truckers who travel with a spouse or significant other continue to smoke legally in their cabs. Another change reduced the penalty for proprietors who fail to enforce the smoking ban, to a petty misdemeanor instead of a misdemeanor.

The bill was sent to the House Finance Committee.

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